The founder and CEO of Parallax Program Inc, a Wichita substance abuse treatment program, resigned on October 12. Milt Fowler is the subject of an ongoing sexual harassment investigation by the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.
Several former employees and clients accused Fowler, who headed Parallax for almost 40 years, of inappropriately touching and sending them sexually graphic text messages. Some of the women also filed complaints with the Wichita police sex crimes unit.
According to The Wichita Eagle:
[Fowler] let her [a former employee] use a Parallax van for three years, before recently retrieving it, she said. “He would text me about phone sex or text and I would just go along with it because I needed that van to get to work and get my girls around and I was afraid if I didn’t do it, he would take my van away from me,” she wrote in her statement.
One time, Fowler showed up in his truck and asked her to come over, according to the statement. “He then took my hand and placed it on his penis…. I pulled my hand back and said something like, ‘I can’t do this here,’ ” she wrote.
“I felt like I went from patient to employee to prostitute with him and it made me sick,” she wrote. “Now how in the heck could I ever trust a counselor or another man in a trusted position after he did what he did to me???”
Another woman, who worked as a Parallax counselor from 2006 to 2009, said she raised concerns about Fowler and how the program was being run to SRS in January 2009. SRS told her it would investigate, but the problems continued, she said.
In a statement to the board, the former counselor, who said she is a licensed therapist, wrote, “I was abruptly fired from Parallax after reporting to the state that Mr. Fowler had knowingly hired a convicted sex offender to work as a counselor at Parallax.”
The man she is referring to — Richard Dean Zugg — has a 2001 conviction in Iowa for indecent contact with an 8-year-old boy, according to the Kansas offender registry.
“Mr. Fowler allowed the sex offender to also work around families and children unsupervised every weekend for nearly two years (there are numerous Parallax staff here that can evidence this occurred,)” the former counselor said in a statement to the board.
Got a tip about a bad boss that eBossWatch should feature? Do you want to expose your toxic boss? Let us know! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org